My friend George Dvorsky has a fantastic piece up at io9 about the latest experimental research being done on a real world warp drive by NASA physicist Dr. Harold White. His first goal is to see if can create a micro warp bubble at all in the lab. This is called an existence of proof — what he’s calling a “Chicago Pile” moment — a reference to a great practical example.
In late 1942, humanity activated the first nuclear reactor in Chicago generating a whopping half Watt — not enough to power a light bulb,” he said. “However, just under one year later, we activated a ~4MW reactor which is enough to power a small town. Existence proof is important.
This is based on the work of Mexican Physicist Miguel Alcubierre‘s seminal 1994 paper The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity. A paper I think should earn him a Nobel Prize. The fact that we have moved from a mathematical paper of proof to real world experimental research on this in less than 20 years is very exciting.
For a more detailed account of Dr. White’s work, read the entire piece over at iO9.com.